The hot days of summer are behind us. Nice fall weather makes this time of year the perfect time to start preparing our homes for winter. With the daylight hours growing shorter and shorter, the sooner we prepare our homes and businesses for the upcoming cold weather the better.
Here are some tips that could save money and energy this winter:
- Caulk around windows and doors is an inexpensive way to reduce heat loss. Inspect your home for old caulk that shows signs of deterioration and cracking and remove it. Replace the old caulk with a silicone based based caulk. Silicone based caulk has a life expectancy of 10-40 years depending on the grade. Caulk can reduce air escaping your home by as much as 40% if done properly. Caulk is available in many colors that will look nice on your homes exterior.
- Any water pipes that are exposed to outside air need to be insulated to avoid freeze damage. Pipes that frequently have fresh water running through them only need to be insulated. Pipes that go for long periods of time without water being run, need to be not only insulated, but also protected with electric heat tape. Heat tapes are activated by temperature and will warm the pipe to prevent freezing only as needed.
- Before cuddling by the fireplace, check out the fireplace damper to make sure that it closes properly. Warm air will find the path of least resistance to escape from your home. If the damper is not closing properly have it repaired. Air going up the chimney is warm and replacement air coming in is cold. This causes a burden on the heating system and wastes energy, not to mention raising your energy costs!
- After “falling back” nights seem to start earlier and earlier. Consider installing motion sensor lights that only activate when needed. It sure is nice to have a light come on when you drive up to the house on a dark night. Most have sensitivity settings to help eliminate problems with small pets activating the light.. Most also have photo sensors that keep them off during daylight hours which conserves energy.
A weekend family work day before it gets too cold can do a lot to improve your comfort and reduce heating costs.